Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They’re loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.
This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equalling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams).
This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
To top things off, chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
Though the benefits of antioxidant supplements are debated, researchers agree that getting antioxidant from food can have positive health effects.
Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
SUMMARY: Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that help protect the delicate fats in the seeds. They also have various benefits for health.
One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds has 12 grams of carbs. However, 11 of those grams are fiber, which your body doesn’t digest.
Fiber neither raises blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of. Though it belongs to the carbohydrate family, its health effects are drastically different from those of digestible carbs like starch and sugar.
Because of its high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10–12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach.
Theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories. Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
SUMMARY: Almost all of the carbohydrates in chia seeds are fiber. This gives them the ability to absorb 10–12 times their weight in water. Fiber also has various beneficial effects on health.
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein.
By weight, they’re about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.
Protein has various health benefits and is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient.
A high protein intake lowers appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.
Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source — especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
SUMMARY: Chia seeds are high in quality protein, much higher than most plant foods. Protein is the most weight loss friendly macronutrient and can drastically reduce appetite and cravings.
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can aid weight loss.
Its soluble fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food.
Also, the protein in chia seeds could help reduce appetite and food intake.
In fact, one study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increased satiety and reduced food intake in the short-term.
Though adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss on its own, many experts believe they can be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
A weight loss diet is about more than just single foods. The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise.
When combined with a real-food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, chia seeds may definitely help promote weight loss.
SUMMARY: Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, both of which have been shown to aid weight loss. However, studies on chia seeds have provided mixed results.